Creating my own iPhone icons is a neat novelty iOS 14 a feature I like … previously made my iPhone look a little sluggish.
Yes, if you haven’t heard of one of the more popular iOS 14 changes giving users the ability to customize their home screen, and our guide to IOS 14 home screen ideas shows how far people took it. But that didn’t appeal to me at first.
Last week, one of my favorite podcasts, Do By Friday, released a special icon set for its Patreon subscribers. This collection of callbacks to old podcast episodes is the first set of unique icons that made me want to sign up.
So, I used my colleague Kate Kozuch’s invaluable guide how to create custom iPhone widgets and app icons with iOS 14 to actually prepare it. If you’ve never experienced this, it’s not entirely easy (and I thank him for helping explain it). You import the photos for the app icon into the Files app (using iCloud Drive), then you use the Shortcuts app to create new icons which are basically shortcuts to the actual apps. It’s like how you can create an alias version of an app for your desktop on Windows 10 or macOS.
A little later, when I rewatched Hannibal (one of the the best Netflix shows), I am done. I turned 16 icons into app buttons, and have changed my entire home screen. Weird app icons seem odd in a good sense, as if I have foreign versions of all these apps. For example, a keychain image is now my Settings app: and I love it.
But then everything went wrong. After I actually tested one of these particular app icons, I noticed how iOS 14 adds a step in the middle, sending you to the Shortcuts app in a nutshell. This brief pause shows you how the Shortcuts application opens the application that you have linked with a special icon.
And that doesn’t mean I have an older iPhone. I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max, which is pretty fast. In fact, iOS 14 seems to load my enormous iCloud Photo Library faster than iOS 13. But this weird lag makes it seem like the iPhone is having trouble directing me to the app I linked in Shortcuts.
Fortunately, there will be happy ending. As reported by Chance Miller at 9to5Mac, these pauses and loading moments are missing in iOS 14.3 beta 2. We just don’t know when iOS 14.3 comes out, and I can’t play it yet because I’m not a big fan of testing software for companies that don’t pay me.
Apple’s move to tie this custom app icon launch so tightly with Shortcuts isn’t a huge failure or anything, but its decision to change course is a good sign of where things are in Apple. They have apparently seen how we use their features, and what doesn’t look right. As they tell you – and our iPhone 12 review supports – the iPhone A14 Bionic is a blazing fast processor, the fastest on any phone, and faster than some laptops. It’s just about making sure that iOS 14 doesn’t make it look slower.